Mith their eighth studio album, Rammstein are at the top of the German annual charts. No album has achieved more sales this year than “Zeit”, which was released at the end of April, according to the investigators of the Official German Charts, GfK Entertainment, on Friday. Behind the rock band are the frontrunners and followers from the previous year: the Abba album “Voyage”, released in November 2021, in third place and the album “Rausch” by Helene Fischer, released in October 2021, in second place. That older releases in the Landing in the annual charts is not unusual, especially for albums that are in physical demand.
Last year, for example, AC/DC’s “Power Up” peaked at number three in the final tally after the Australians’ album had been number one on the 2020 annual chart. This year’s superstars Taylor Swift (“Midnights”) and Harry Styles (“Harry’s House”) follow in fourth and fifth place. According to GfK, more than half of the top 100 albums are in German.
How the charts are calculated
In the single charts, there was no getting around the controversial (and presumably more successful) Ballermann hit “Layla” by DJ Robin & Schürze. Behind them is the British indie band Glass Animals with “Heat Waves”. The rapper Luciano took third place with “Beautiful Girl”, the song most listened to in Germany on the music streaming market leader Spotify. The sales from the 50th calendar week of the past year up to the 49th in 2022 are included in the calculation of the annual charts. Sales figures for the individual works are not published.
Comparisons with other countries such as the USA or Great Britain are understandably popular, but not only difficult because of the sometimes very popular local repertoire. Because while the charts in both countries are calculated according to the number of “units” sold of an album or song, the German chart brokers take the sales achieved in each case as a benchmark.
Taylor Swift with records in the USA
Although streaming accounts for by far the largest part of sales with music recordings in Germany (73.3 percent at the half-year point), physical sound carriers are still an important business, depending on the artist and their target group. This applies to lesser-known artists as well as to superstars. Taylor Swift, for example, not only temporarily occupied the entire top 10 of the Billboard singles chart with songs from her new album. “Midnights” also sold a proud 1.14 million copies on vinyl, CD, cassette or as downloads in the USA in the first week including pre-orders.
Physical sales hardly matter anymore in the single charts, but even more so in the album charts – and the German sales system reinforces their effect. The high-priced special editions with colored records, numerous collector’s editions, specially designed booklets or “bundles”, where further fan articles are added, which are very popular in the industry, are also particularly helpful in achieving a good position in the charts.
However, they are only taken into account with a maximum value of 40 euros, even if the actual sales price is higher. According to the regulations, the additions to the sound carrier must also have a clear reference to the artist and be included as a “haptic product”.
In order for streams to be included in the charts, their sales value is calculated using separate formulas for both the album and single charts. The number of “units” is determined analogously in the USA and Great Britain. In the American “Billboard Top 200” charts, for example, ten individual downloads of songs from an album count as one unit sold. When streaming, 1250 streams from subscribers or 3750 streams via an advertising-based free offer are included as a sold unit in the calculation of the American charts. In Germany, on the other hand, advertising-based and video streams in general have only been taken into account since the beginning of 2022 and only in the single charts.
According to the chart investigators, all sales figures from data from more than 2800 commercial transactions – from large electronics markets to small record shops – as well as the various download portals and streaming services are recorded.